Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC will head to Thailand for the second year in a row, after host cities for the 2022 AFC Champions League were announced. The Asian Football Confederation has confirmed Thailand will host three of the East Asia groups, while Vietnam and Malaysia will host one each. The AFC Champions League plays its top tier club competition in two regional sections – East and West – with the winners of each side meeting in the final. Last month, the Hong Kong Premier League champions were drawn in Group J, along with former semi-finalists Shanghai Port, Thailand’s Chiangrai United and either Vissel Kobe, from Japan, or Australia’s Melbourne Victory. While the host city for Group J is still to be confirmed, the AFC said group stage matches were set for an April 15 kick off. The team said they would be hoping to better last year’s performance, but face a tough Group J draw. CONFIRMED ✔️ #ACL2022 Group Stage EAST hosts ⬇️ 🇹🇭 Thailand - Group F, G and J 🇻🇳 Vietnam - Group H 🇲🇾 Malaysia - Group I 🔗 https://t.co/D5bZ8aBBIZ pic.twitter.com/47GacZE4Rd — #ACL2022 (@TheAFCCL) February 16, 2022 “In 2021, Kitchee made history as we ranked second in group stage with 11 points, proving that Hong Kong football is a force to be reckoned with in Asia,” the team said via social media. “In 2022, Kitchee will push forward in the pursuit of the highest honour in Asia.” Elsewhere, the Thai city of Buriram will provide the stage for the matches in Group F, which will feature China’s Shandong Taishan FC, two-time AFC Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds, of Japan, Singapore’s Lion City Sailors and the winners of the play-off stage match between Korea’s Daegu FC and Thailand’s Buriram United. Group G will be played in Bangkok, with Australia’s Melbourne City to make their debut campaign alongside Thailand’s BG Pathum United, Korean FA Cup winners Jeonnam Dragons and United City FC, from the Philippines. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam will host Group H, with two-time winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, of South Korea, set to face off against Yokohama F Marinos, from Japan. Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai and the winners of the play-offs featuring China’s Changchun Yatai and the winners of the preliminary stage contest between Kaya-Iloilo FC from the Philippines and Australia’s Sydney FC. Johor Bahru, in Malaysia, will present the backdrop for the matches in Group I, which comprises J1 League winners Kawasaki Frontale, eight-time Chinese Super League and two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou FC as well as Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, plus the winners of the play-off tie between former champions Ulsan Hyundai and Thailand’s Port FC. The host nations for the AFC Champions League 2022 West Group Stage matches will be announced soon.